Google in crosshairs again as Turkey launches fresh investigation

Türkiye’s competition watchdog Monday announced it had launched a new investigation into Alphabet Inc., Google LLC and the Turkish Google advertising unit on whether they had abused their dominant position in the market.


Preliminary findings indicate that the company had violated competition law by favoring its own online video advertising and ad technology services, a statement by the Competition Authority (RK) said.


The investigation covers the entity composed of Alphabet, Google LLC, Google International LLC, Google Ireland Limited, and the Turkish Google advertising unit, the authority said.


The Competition Authority earlier this year initiated another investigation into Google’s alleged abuse of its dominant position in the general search services market.


The probes follow a series of fines in recent years after investigations found the tech giant had abused its market dominance and breached the competition law.


In April 2021, Google was handed a $36.6 million fine for abusing its dominant position in the search engine services area. The RK said the tech giant had provided advantages to its own accommodation price comparison and its local search services over its competitors.


That came just months after the RK November 2020 slapped Google with some $25.6 million fine for breaching the country’s competition law.


The board ruled that the company breached the law by complicating organic search results in the content services market by placing text ads intensively and uncertainly at the top of the general search results.


Google is the world’s dominant digital advertising platform with a 28% market share of global ad revenue, according to research firm Insider Intelligence.


The latest probe in Türkiye comes amid a significant escalation by European Union in its crackdown on Silicon Valley digital giants and seeking to bust Google’s alleged monopoly on the online ad ecosystem.


European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch and top antitrust enforcer, last week accused Google of abusing its dominance of the online ad market and recommended, after a two-year probe, that it sell off part of its business to ensure competition.


The charges add pressure on Google over its dominance of the ad tech industry and came just months after U.S. authorities sued the company for the same issue.


Google could face a fine of up to 10% of its global revenue if the commission maintains that stance – as provided for under the 2022 Digital Markets Act, drafted to rein in the market dominance of Big Tech.


Brussels has already slapped over 8 billion euros in fines on Google for abusing its dominant market position. In 2018, the company was fined 4.3 billion euros – the biggest ever antitrust penalty imposed by the EU – for using the dominant position of its Android mobile operating system to promote Google’s search engine. The fine was later reduced to 4.1 billion euros.


The firm has also incurred billion-plus fines for abusing its power in online shopping and abusive practices in online advertising.


Turkish  press sources


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.